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Lacking primary care, patients are unlikely to know about cholesterol problems

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who do not have a primary care doctor are significantly less likely to receive cholesterol testing and to know about chronic health problems, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Morehouse School of Medicine.

The team assessed the health of nearly 22,000 adults between 1999 and 2008. Those who reported to primarily using emergency rooms for their medical needs had about the same rates of high blood pressure and cholesterol as those with primary care doctors, they were just less likely to know about their condition.

Cardiovascular disease is a particularly difficult condition to control, as it requires regular lab tests to ensure that a patient's condition is not worsening. However, if an individual does not have access to these kinds of services, they are more likely to have poorer treatment outcomes.

The researchers said their findings underscore the need for healthcare reform efforts to focus on helping individuals access preventative health services like cholesterol testing and primary care visits. The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act has made this a top goal.

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